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Portion Control Key Challenge to Fasting

By Matt Cavallo

Editor's Note:
The following is the view of the author. MS Focus does not endorse any particular treatment, modality, or practitioner. For specific advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

They say if you can do something for twenty-one days in a row, it becomes a habit. For me, intermitting fasting was going to put saying to the test. As discussed in a previous article, I began intermitting fasting as part of a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. 

The first step was to decide on the hours of my eating window. After much thought, I decided that my eating window would be from noon until eight at night which meant that I was going to have to give up breakfast. This proved to be my first challenge with the program. I have always believed that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it is also my favorite meal. There is nothing that I love more than getting up early on the weekend and cooking a big breakfast for my family that consists of eggs over easy, crispy bacon, and cinnamon rolls dripping in frosting. On January 1 of this year, however, I said goodbye to my hearty breakfast feast and hello to intermittent fasting.

Immediately, I regretted my decision. Resolutions around the holidays are tough because not everyone makes the same behavior change you do. In this case, my 12 and 10-year-old boys still wanted breakfast so I had to cook it for them, without indulging in any of the food. I knew going into this that I would need to make some sacrifices in order to reach my weight loss goals. I also knew that because I was the only one in my house trying intermittent fasting there were going to be challenges and I needed to be strong to resist temptations and fall back into old behaviors. It was that strength that propelled me to not give up. I also didn’t want to be another failed New Year’s resolution statistic. 

The first couple of days of intermittent fasting were painful. I had to fight through the hunger pains, a growling stomach, and the voice inside my head telling me that one little bite wasn’t cheating. To stay motivated, I started checking days off of the calendar to show my progress. By the end of the day 21, I felt like I had built a new habit. I wasn’t hungry until noon. It didn’t matter if I smelled something delicious or if someone else was eating around me, I just no longer craved food before noon. I also found that I condensed the evening window as well. I would stop eating after dinner around 6 or 6:30 p.m. And now if I crave breakfast, I make breakfast for dinner, which everyone loves.

I lost about five pounds in the first couple of weeks, which was a great start. The problem that I now face is portion control. Sure, I am cutting out one meal, but I have added those calories back in with snacks during my eating window. The next phase of my intermittent fasting experiment is to limit my calorie intake by trying a plant-based cleanse. I am hopeful that this will help me reach my 25-pound weight loss goal.

The one question that I get asked is does the intermittent fasting affect my MS? I thought that eliminating breakfast would zap my energy but it didn’t. Today, I have more energy and feel better because I am down a couple of pounds. It has also given me the strength to try new diet strategies to help achieve my goals. I am still a work in progress and will have another update soon.